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Saturday, June 15, 2013
Three schools in Central Massachusetts have the country's most popular undergraduate majors, according to the Princeton Review's college guide, The Best 377 Colleges, 2013 Edition. College of the Holy Cross, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Clark University all offer some of the best programs in their fields, according to data collected to compile the guide's Great Schools for 20 of the Most Popular Undergraduate Majors. The listing includes schools with the top programs in the hottest college majors, including accounting, biology, business/finance, engineering, psychology, communications, education, and more.
Holy Cross: Math, History + Political Science
Holy Cross came out on top for Central Mass schools, offering three of the top programs in math, history, and political science/government. With 18 history professors, the schools holds approximately twice as many as other schools of its size. “History majors learn about every facet of human behavior, from wars and revolutions to cross-cultural encounter, family and social patterns, and changes in ideas and identity,” said Noel Cary, professor and incoming chair of the history department, in a statement. “Students have the opportunity to cluster their courses in their areas of interest and to compare diverse historical experiences. Outcomes include widened horizons, the ability to think aloud and to consider alternatives, skillful research and writing, and a heightened capacity for focused inquiry.”
Holy Cross's political science major is one of its most popular, the school says. The reason? Its faculty, of course. "The department offers courses by 15 teacher-scholars who have made distinguished contributions to the field of political science and won accolades for teaching excellence,” says Donald Brand, professor and chair of the political science department. “The department is committed to education for citizenship and prides itself on representing diverse views and encouraging students to think for themselves and to question any and all preconceived ideas.”
Clark University was praised for its quality psychology program. One of the most popular majors amongst undergraduates right now, "it teaches students how to understand human behavior from a number of perspectives that range from the biological to the societal. We build on the global reputation that Clark has in psychology and on the specific interests that students bring with them." said Esteban V. Cardemil, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training at Clark.
The school utilizes relatively small classes, close faculty-student research collaboration, and community internships to build a nationwide reputation. Its opportunities for post-graduate training add to the appeal, believes Cardemil. "When you add in the impressive numbers of graduates who go on to post-graduate training–Master's, MSW, and doctoral studies, for example–it's understandable that students see the psychology major as an excellent way to prepare themselves for life after college.”
WPI: Engineering + Mechanical Engineering
Worcester Polytechnic Institute was listed for the engineering and mechanical engineering majors. One of the country's first engineering and tech schools, the school consistently earns high rankings from college reporting authorities like the US News World Report, Businessweek, and Forbes, in addition to The Princeton Review. Its unique and innovative approach to science and research has earned it a strong reputation from organizations like the New England Association of Schools and the Association of International Educators.
Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed, founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC and GoLocalWorcester's College Admissions expert, advises that students and families consider the bigger picture when it comes to selecting a college, instead of focusing solely on rankings of majors. "There are certainly a number of other colleges in MA with excellent engineering, psychology, poli-sci and history departments," Quinn said. "Rankings rarely show the full picture and I don't advise that families get too caught up in them during the admissions process. Ultimately, i's about finding the right fit for each student."
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